Throughout 2020 I worked on making the Muckraker System and its flagship game The Martian Muckraker. Happy to say 2021 was a productive year as well and I have many projects I will be working on into 2022. I’ve become fascinated with game design, especially the design of games with short and elegant rulesets.
You may be thinking that these are a lot of projects to have going on at the same time. However I tend to cross pollinate my RPGs. Wonderer and Pluto’s Plan are going to have slightly different applicattions of the “Wonderer System.” Blood in the Night like Wonderer will be using a roll under stat system and have at least one “currency stat” and like Pluto’s Plan have resources that can be gathered and spent on powerups. Each of these RPG’s will have a tarot component derived from Muckraker. These synergies are what allow for efficiency in testing ideas.
So what is underway?
Most adults have forgotten Wonderland. You have not, dear Wonderer. Perhaps there is a “imaginary” friend you still love there. Perhaps you need to escape your situation in that dreary place called reality. Perhaps you want to, almost literally, go inside your mind. Or maybe you want to make sure that Earth doesn’t contaminate Wonderland – and vice versa.– Wonderer RPG
I have had the chance to playtest Wonderer with my friends and we had a blast!
During a game of this with my friends, they proved that Humpty Dumpty was not in fact pushed off the wall. Since one of the players’ dreams was about birds, they used a parrot to record incriminating information and be the lead witness. Humpty Dumpty had faked his demise to frame the White Rabbit. The party had the Queen of Hearts order Humpty to hatch as a punishment. They now have a pet chick. For GMs, I highly recommend reading the Lewis Caroll book to get a sense of Wonderland-humor.
I am hoping to expand Wonderer rules and make a System SRD that allows Wonderer to be applied to different genres. In particular the Martian Muckraker RPG page has rules for a “sidequel” RPG called “Pluto’s Pan-galaxy Plan for Peculiar Planetary Pests Problems and Predicaments” that builds on Wonderer’s System. It is the last download on the page.
Pluto’s Plan will be a completely violence free RPG. Wonderer of course will have many a shout of “OFF WITH YOUR HEAD” from the Queen of Hearts, but will be designed to be a family friendly game.
Driven to Delirium
Driven to Delirium is NOT a family friendly game. This game has not been tested yet but I can’t wait to do so. It uses cards (both a 52 card deck and Oracle cards) for resolution. I am particularly proud of the chase system that allows cards to be used as spaces on a “map.”
This is a game about people who are evil because they choose to be. They are fringe scientists, seeking out dark truths, and willing to do evil things to find them. Over the course of the game the back stories of the mad scientists will be revealed in Tarot Cards (or using the Muckraker Storytelling Deck). Players will explore why their obsessed power seeker does what they do – and if there is hope for their redemption. Game play is mystery-based and revolves around pushing one’s luck to find clues at the risk of being hunted down by beings of unfathomable power.Driven to Delirium RPG
Despite the early stage of this project I already have some graphic assets that I am very proud of.
Blood in the Night
This is game does not even have an itch.io page yet. An intitial draft of the rules can be found on my google drive. Blood in the Night is an RPG without hit points – you get hit by a sword you will likely die. The players play rogues engaging in heists. Failures in stealth cause the stealth stat itself to get lower, representing growing awareness of the partys presence. If spotted guards can attack. The PC’s can attack from the shadows as well, but this risks lowering stealth as do most actions.
The game is meant to provide a experience that is markedly different from D&D or Pathfinder combat. The traditional stats are done away with in favor of stats that more closely fit the theme. Iike (In)stability in Wonderer Stealth is a currency and a stat – something that is rolled against and has to be risked or spent to accomplish tasks.
Guards only have 4 stats. Player characters have 7. Despite the simplicity strategic choices will have to be made to survive.
The rules will include how to use the ruleset for a dungeon crawl, a narrative campaign or a wargame.
If you try out any of my RPGs with others or in solitaire let me know what worked and what didn’t – I am always seeking to improve.